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Picking up the wrong lead

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  • Picking up the wrong lead

    My horse will pick up the incorrect lead to the right maybe about 40% of the time. As you can imagine, this is a issue. He never does it going the other direction. Not really sure why? It's not a health issue as I just got him vetted. Could definitely be a balance/strength issue but I'm not sure how to correct it?

  • #2
    It's usually a rider issue. Make sure your body is straight, your eyes are up, and the horse is straight, before you ask for the canter.


    • #3
      My horse had this problem in the spring, only it was to the left (and it was a much bigger issue!!) I got her a couple of chiropractic treatments which helped a little, but when *I* finally got one done, it was night and day. Apparently my mare is Princess-and-the-Pea-sensitive! Turns out my pelvis was locked in a weird position, which was blocking her from picking up the lead.

      Another help was doing a lot of slow hill work, and light lunging at the canter (ie not for long, but enough to help her find her balance) to build up the correct muscles.


      • #4
        For some reason my right hand can be dominant/over-active while I'm riding (this is odd since I'm left-handed). It translates to me using too much inside rein when asking for the right lead canter. He over bends, outside shoulder pops out, and next thing we know, we've got the (wrong) left lead. It doesn't help that his left is his more comfortable lead to be on anyway. So my suggestion would be to ensure you're not relying too much on your inside aids when asking for that lead


        • #5
          When I start working with my OTTB I teach them turn on the Forehand.
          Do a lot of turn on the forehand using your left leg, pushing his rear around.

          Then start working on moving his shoulder over to the left. When your horse does this at ease and listens to your aides then he will pick up his right lead.
          Takes time and be patient.

          I love my OTTB
          "An ordinary trainer cannot hear a Horse speak, a Good trainer can, a Great trainer can hear them whisper and a Top Trainer can HEAR them Think." John O'Leary


          • #6
            Like people, horses have a dominant/favorite side so it seems that the problem you're having is that one or both of you are favoring the left lead. Your OP didn't say whether this is a new problem or has always been this way but you did say that the vet looked at your horse so let's assume it isn't medical. Many problems stem from a lack of collection and too long a frame (i.e. no frame). If this is the case, the horse isn't balanced and unless he is leaning heavily, he will simply pick up the lead he prefers. I would try to work on this by taking care to shorten the frame and lighten the front end, making sure you are sitting straight and not leaning over his front end and using the outside leg behind the girth. Be sure you aren't using so much rein either. I would also start off by doing this as you enter the corner and as you have success, keep moving back until you can do it anywhere on the rail. Once you've got that, try it down the center line.

            Be patient and you'll get it.